I am a geek. It’s a tribe that’s grown bigger and bigger in recent years, many of them passing entirely unnoticed under normal clothes and working at jobs that don’t require a working knowledge of star fighter design. That camouflage keeps us from scaring the people who don’t share our passions, but it makes it hard to find someone who can share our excitement about the latest episode of “Naruto.”
That all changed when I stepped through the door of the Salt Palace Convention Center last week. The Salt Lake Comic Con is a celebration of geekery in all shapes, stripes and sizes, the one place where you know you’ll never be mocked for remembering all of the monsters from the first season of “Power Rangers” or the four lines from Joss Whedon’s original script that ended up in the first “X-men” movie. It’s the one place where you can celebrate the worlds you love most.
Even if it’s not your favorite fictional world, you’re still invited to the party. I’m only a casual “Star Wars” fan, but even I couldn’t stop myself from feeling a little bit in awe as I shook the hand of Peter Mayhew, the once and future Chewbacca. I like to think of myself as a mature and responsible adult, with at least semi-mature tastes, but my inner 12-year-old still jumped up and clapped when I saw the original Blue and Black Power Rangers, live and in person. I didn’t watch Ray Park play Snake-Eyes in the most recent “G.I. Joe” movie, but I understood the passion in his voice when he talked about wanting to grow up to be Jackie Chan when he was a little kid.
Here, it was okay to devote all your time and energy to things that some other people might find ridiculous. There were panels that detail the history of both the Avengers and Bigfoot just as closely as others might discuss the Franco-Prussian War. Anyone brave enough to step into a creative field could find plenty of advice on starting, surviving, and staying sane in their profession of choice.
It was in the hallways, though, where all the different worlds really come together. Some of the most fun you can have in the Salt Lake Comic Con is costume-watching, seeing ordinary men and women transformed into zombie hunters, Pokemon, super heroes, space warriors and more. They spend their days as everything from doctors to secretaries, but they all have the hard work and passion to pull a little bit of a fantasy world into this one. It’s the kind of magic you can reach out and touch.
And if there’s one thing a geek understands, we could all use a little more magic in our lives.